“Show me a man with a tattoo and I’ll show you a man with an interesting past” Jack London. As a graduation gift to myself, I decided to get my ninth tattoo. Just like scars, every tattoo has a story and is a representation of life’s journey.
I’ve always told myself that I would never get a tattoo below the elbow, mostly as a consequence of trying to adhere to social and parental influences. Cuz you know, it’s just one of those unwritten rules & social norms.
In America, from the corner office or the cubicle’s that plague corporate America, those permanently inked with art for their own self-expression are usually the ‘outcast’. I still hide all of my tattoos at work, to uphold this bullshit image of the ‘professional me’, when really, the person under the long sleeve shirt is the same individual with the same work ethic and knowledge. Was I scared to be an outsider? Maybe. Quite possibly. You know what, yes I was, and maybe still am.
Tattoo number nine was a no-brainer, I HAD to go below the elbow. The location of the tattoo is just as symbolic as the tattoo itself. The tattoo is of the moon, a reminder that whenever I look down at my arm that my trials and tribulations are nothing but a speck in the vast universe.
This post isn’t about tattoos, it’s about why you should always pursue your highest joy. So how does my tattoo story correlate with pursuing my highest joy? First, let’s analyze the definition of joy:
Joy (noun): a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.
It’s as simple as pleasure and happiness. That is the joy. But most importantly, it is your pleasure and happiness that dictates your life, not those of outside influence. In no way are any of my tattoos filled with rebellion. They tell my story, all from different phases in my life. As I’ve matured, I’ve gone to realize that I must value my own happiness, and always pursue my highest joy. Even if that means, going below the elbow.
“Just as the Moon goes through many changes as it moves from its new to full phases, cancers, too, go through many new and full phases of experience”.
But why do we do the things that we do? Just think about it. Stop. Pause. Just for one second. Block out your surroundings and meditate on that question. Why do we do the things that we do? Where does our intrinsic motivation come from? Why are some people dreamers and doers in a world that rewards sheep-ism?
Life is not only about experiences, it’s about enjoying those experiences, living fully, and no matter what, living the LIFE that you WANT to live! Gary Vee once said “Never allow somebody to define who you are…Be all in on what you want”. A lot of us may not know what we really want. Or at least not at this moment.
Don’t worry. You may never really know what you want, but you should always know what makes you happy. “If you’re a graphic designer, but really want to be a chef, go do that. If you’re a hockey player that wants to be an opera singer, then start warming up those vocal chords” Gary Vee. Be brave, go against the grain. The pursuit of happiness is accomplished when you pursue your own joy.
“Cultivate doubt in your life. Always be unsure. Because being unsure leads to testing and discovering and learning and improving.” Mark Manson. Although not all doubt is equal, all doubt is healthy. Even the most ego-driven individual (looking at you Kanye) has their own self-doubts. That’s what makes us human. That’s what makes us take a risk. There will always be doubt, from yourself and from them. But, just if, you can look past that doubt and run your own course, that is when real change becomes progress.
“Stick to doing what makes you happy and the goals that you want to execute because, in the end, happiness drives everything. Never limit yourself to what other people think you should be. Have the self-awareness to know what you should be. You have to do it like you.”
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